Hofstra University and North Shore-LIJ Health System have gained state approval to open a new graduate school for nursing that aims to fill the need for advanced training in the field, university and hospital officials announced Monday.

The three-year, part-time program will lead to a master of science degree in family nursing or adult-gerontology acute care. The school will enroll its first students in September with a class of 30, officials said.

"It's very exciting, particularly because of the new and evolving health care environment. It is just the perfect time to launch a new nursing school," said Kathleen Gallo, founding dean of the nursing school and senior vice president and chief learning officer at North Shore-LIJ Health System.

StoryHofstra, health group to add nursing school

The new school is Hofstra's latest endeavor in the health science professions, building on a partnership with North Shore-LIJ. The private university and the health system in 2011 opened a medical school with its first class of 40 students, who graduated as doctors in May.

"Our expanding partnership with North Shore-LIJ brings together the expertise and experience of the best minds in medicine and the health professions to improve the lives of Long Islanders," Hofstra University president Stuart Rabinowitz said in a statement.

Gallo said there is "very high demand" for nurse practitioners in the region and nationally as they play an expanded role in the delivery of primary and community-based health care.

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More than 260 registered nurses within the health system have expressed interest in learning more about the graduate nursing degree.

"We would love for other interested nurses to also apply," Gallo said.

The nurse practitioner program will cost $1,192 per credit for a 48-credit degree, hospital officials said.

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The median annual salary of a nurse practitioner on Long Island is $115,350, while the median annual salary of a registered nurse is $83,900, according to state Department of Labor data for the region.

Initially, the program would be housed in a building next to the medical school on the north side of Hofstra's campus, Gallo said.

It will merge with the university's existing physician assistant program to form the Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Graduate Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies. Fifty-two students currently are enrolled in the physician assistant program, Gallo said.

Adelphi University, LIU Post, Molloy College and Stony Brook University also offer graduate nursing degrees.